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In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray

Tour firm launches northern Spain bike tours

Date: 23-Jan-2015

Pedal along  the green coast of northern Spain. Tour operator Headwater has launched a nine night hotel to hotel package – with baggage transfers – starting at the easternmost point in Asturias and ending in the port of Gijon. It costs from £919 (ground only), £999 (self drive) or £1159 with flights. Bikes are provided. Three evening meals are included – otherwise it’s B&B. For bookingns email

Headwater cycle route - Llanes Harbour, Asturias, Spain

New rail museum to open

Date: 22-Jan-2015

Railway enthusiasts should watch for this year’s opening of Train World – Brussels’ first museum dedicated to the topic. Exhibits will range from Belgium’s oldest locomotive to a state of the art train incorporating the largest technology, from posters and personnel uniforms to historic film. No date has been announced yet for the opening of the museum, which is under development on the site of Schaerbeek station, an early 20th century building which is being restored. The site lies on the route of the first railway line in mainland Europe – between Brussels and Mechelen.

Train World

Paradise Beach opens

Date: 21-Jan-2015

A new beachfront resort has opened on the Caribbean island of Nevis. Paradise Beach is a cluster of thatched villas, which can be stocked with food and drink via an online grocery order form before guests arrive. If you don’t want to cook you can book the services of a private chef. You’ll need deep pockets unless you have friends to share the cost. At the time of writing the resort’s website showed a total price of US$8715 for a week in a 3-bedroom villa, starting in January 21.

Paradise Beach, Nevis

Cambodia cycle tours launched

Date: 20-Jan-2015

Heading for the temples of Angkor Watt? Get on your bike. A new company has launched cycle tours in the surrounding Cambodian countryside. Siem Reap Ride – it also runs ox cart and tractor trips - has been set up by Ouk Chan Bophay, a former manager at one the country’s leading tour operators, who describes it as an ecotourism company that supports the local community. “Our aim is to improve people’s lives, restore and support communities and raise living standards and education.

Cambodia bike tours

Heathrow gets non stop Vietnam flights

Date: 19-Jan-2015

Vietnam Airlines is to switch its UK operation from Gatwick to Heathrow. From March 31 its non stop flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh will depart from and arrive at Heathrow’s Terminal 4. The move will also see a significant increase in the frequency of its services, which will then operate daily.

Vietnam Airlines

Cruising gets cooler

Date: 17-Jan-2015

Snow in the Caribbean? That’s the bizarre promise from Norwegian Cruise Line, which will incorporate a room where flurries will blow all day on its new ship Norwegian Escape. The “Snow Room”, in which temperatures will vary from zero to six degrees centigrade, will be part of the vessel’s Mandara Spa which, claims the company, will be the “largest thermal suite at sea”. It says the snowflakes will stimulate passengers’ blood circulation and strengthen their immune systems. Scheduled to come into service in mid- November Norwegian Escape will sail from her home port of Miami to destinations including the US and British Virgin Islands and Nassau in the Bahamas.

Snow Room

Helsinki to get airport rail link

Date: 16-Jan-2015

Helsinki airport will get a 30 minute rail link to the city centre this summer. Trains will run in and out of the Finnish capital’s central station. The Ring Rail Line, will be 18 kilometres long, 8kms of which will be in tunnels. Passengers traveling to and from the north of Finland will be able to change at Tikkurila station, about an 8 minute ride to the east of the airport.

Helsinki Station - image courtesy of Finnish Tourist office

German city hopping by rail – new package

Date: 15-Jan-2015

An intriguing new package combining stays in Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden – with travel between them by train– has been launched by Inntravel. It includes two nights’ b&b in each city. The price starts at £675 with rail travel in Germany – or £1085 including return train fares from the UK.


New Prague flights unveiled

Date: 14-Jan-2015

Czech airline Smartwings is to launch flights between Gatwick and Prague. Starting on April 2 it will operate four round trips a week using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft – with departures on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.


Bahamas holiday tax cut

Date: 13-Jan-2015

Holidaymakers heading for the Bahamas look set to benefit from lower prices following a hotel tax cut. The Government there has replaced a 10% hotel tax with 7.5% VAT.

Bahamas beach

Kerouac tours launched

Date: 12-Jan-2015

The life of beat generation inspiration Jack Kerouac – most famously the author of On the Road – is celebrated though a range of walking and bus tours now available in his home town of Lowell, Massachusetts. The tours are available to groups of five or more. For more information go to Lowell is in any case a fascinating city. Regarded as the cradle of the American industrial revolution, it was developed in the mid 19th century. In 1842 Charles Dickens went there and was deeply impressed by the clean working conditions in its mills – they can been visited as part of the Lowell National Historical Park - visit them - though he was at pains to note subsequently that circumstances were very different from the “great haunts of misery” in England’s industrial cities.


Lowell, Massachusetts

Island first from Sunvil

Date: 10-Jan-2015

Sunvil claims to be the first UK tour operator to offer packages to the Greek island of Ammouliani, off the Halkidiki peninsula. Close to the monasteries of Mount Athos the island’s village has a population of 542. The firm is offering one week’s B&B there from £658 per person, based in two sharing.

Aghios Georgios Beach

Bristol gets new holiday flights

Date: 09-Jan-2015

Holidaymakers booking with Thomson and First Choice will be able to fly direct from  Bristol to Sal in the Cape Verde islands, Hurghada in Egypt and Paphos in Cyprus next winter. Karen Switzer, director of aviation planning for the two TUI owned operators, said: “Regional airports are an important part of our strategy”.

Thomson Airways

Free Wi-Fi from Hyatt

Date: 08-Jan-2015

Hyatt has responded to growing demand from travellers by announcing it will offer free Wi-Fi at all its hotels, worldwide, from February. Unlimited access will be available in rooms and public areas – regardless of how guests book or whether they are members of Hyatt’s loyalty programme. As of last September the company’s portfolio comprised 573 properties in 48 countries.

Hyatt Regency in Hong Kong

New flights to Deauville planned

Date: 07-Jan-2015

Deauville, the smart French seaside resort in Normandy, suddenly has a clutch of new air links with the UK. Flybe will fly there three times a week from Birmingham and twice a week from Exeter between June 22 and September 26 next year. This follows the regional airline’s earlier announcement that it would operate there from its new base in Bournemouth. And Ryanair plans to fly to Deauville twice a week from Stansted, starting on April 3.


Toronto to get new airport train link

Date: 06-Jan-2015

A new fast rail link between central Toronto and the city’s Pearson International Airport is scheduled to open next spring. The journey from Union Station to Terminal One will take 25 minutes and trains will run every 15 minutes. Called the Union Pearson Express, the link will take in two stops en route: at Bloor and Weston stations.


Belgrade gets new hotel

Date: 05-Jan-2015

Serbia’s capital has a smart new place to stay. The 236 room Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel is in the old heart of Belgrade, a short walks fro the River Sava and the railway station. Floor to ceiling windows on upper floors afford views across the city. The property has a fitness centre and a spa with sauna and steam bath.

Radisson Blu Old Mill Hotel

Parliament tours stepped up

Date: 03-Jan-2015

Tours of the Houses Parliament will be more widely available this year. In addition to those in summer and on Saturdays they’ll run on most weekdays during half term, at Easter and throughout the dissolution period preceding the General Election. It will be 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta and 750 since Simon de Montfort’s first Parliament – and a series of large banners has been commissioned from artists to mark these anniversaries in Westminster Hall. Visitors can choose a tour either with a Blue Badge guide or take the audio self guided option. Go to

Houses of Parliament

Norwegian to fly from Birmingham

Date: 31-Dec-2014

Budget airline Norwegian is to launch flights from Birmingham to Spain. From March 30 and 31 respectively it will operate three round trips a week to Malaga and Madrid. And - starting on June 1 - it will fly twice a week from the Midlands airport to Barcelona.


Taj launches free Wi-Fi

Date: 30-Dec-2014

The number of hotels offering free Wi-Fi continues to increase. The Mumbai based Taj Hotel group has joined them. Connection without charge is now available from up to three devices at all its 125 hotels worldwide – including those branded as Taj, Vivanta by Taj, Gateway and Ginger.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai

Lithuania adopts Euro

Date: 29-Dec-2014

Lithuania joins the Eurozone from January 1. It will abandon its national currency, the lita, following similar moves by its Baltic neighbours Estonia and Latvia. A recent European Commission survey found that 84% of Lithuanians feared the switch would lead to higher prices.    


Sistine ceiling sans crowds

Date: 27-Dec-2014

In the Sistine Chapel you may feel like sardines trapped beneath a particularly stunning tin lid. And that after standing for some time in a long queue. Not on two trips next year with Andante Travels, which has organised exclusive access to Michelangelo’s masterpiece without the usual pressing crowds. The 6 day (5 night) packages with experts Dr Eireann Marshall and Professor Alastair Small take in Rome’s monuments – grand and intimate. They run from March 9 – 14 and October 19 – 24 and cost from £2300 a head with scheduled flights or £2060 without them.

Sistine Chapel

Picasso studio building to be hotel

Date: 24-Dec-2014

The building which housed Picasso’s first studio in Barcelona is set to open as a luxury hotel. With 30 rooms and cooking by a Michelin-starred chef, The Serras, a boutique property by the waterfront on Passeig de Colom, is scheduled to open in January. The building where Picasso painted painted Ciencia y Caridad dates from 1846 and its neo-classical façade remains intact. The property will be a member of Design Hotels. Room rates will start at €150 for the first month, then €250.

The Serras Hotel

Great snow on Norway’s ski slopes

Date: 23-Dec-2014

Norway has excellent Christmas snow while many European ski resorts have been struggling, we can report from first hand observation. Silver Travel Advisor’s news editor visited Geilo and Hemsedal last week to find powder conditions on piste and a base in both centres of 70 – 80 centimetres. Meanwhile the big tour firm Crystal Ski announced last week that in resorts where no lifts were operating it would bus customers free of charge to resorts where conditions were better.


Cuba move could increase travel costs

Date: 22-Dec-2014

Harbouring an ambition to see Cuba? Don’t delay. That was the advice from travel experts following President Obama’s long overdue move to restore diplomatic relations. While there may be fierce opposition from a Republican dominated Congress it looks likely that the number of Americans travelling to Cuba will increase significantly. Hotel prices for 2015 have already been negotiated by tour but increased demand for accommodation could push them up from 2016. A spokesman for major long haul operator Kuoni said: “It’s too early to see what impact this recent development will have on tourism and rates other than demand will clearly increase so booking early will be a necessity for customers who have definite dates in mind for travel.  All our 2015 rates are contracted and prices fixed so it's about making sure that we now move quickly to secure the best rates for 2016 and beyond. Actually Americans have been travelling to Cuba for as long as I remember and I think I first went about 15 years ago. They accessed the island through other places as you could not go directly from the States. Recent announcements will however increase the flow of travellers from the US considerably.”


easyJet unveils new routes

Date: 19-Dec-2014

Flights from Luton, Newcastle and Manchester to Split in Croatia are planned by easyJet. They are among ten new destinations from UK airports announced by the airline for next summer. The others are:  Bristol to Bilbao, Zakynthos and the Isle of Man, Newcastle to Rhodes and Corfu, Manchester to Kefalonia and Southend to Menorca.


Boutique hotel opens in Istanbul

Date: 18-Dec-2014

Istanbul has a new luxury boutique hotel. The 71 room 10 Karakoy is housed in a neo classical building dating from 1875. With a bow to its Ottoman period design, rooms have ceilings which make use of the building’s original brick. The six storey hotel, which incorporates and 82-seat restaurant, has a Sky Terrace with view across the Bosphorus.


New flights from the South Coast

Date: 17-Dec-2014

A clutch of new air travel options is promised next year for travellers living near the South Coast. In time for summer, Flybe will start operating from Bournemouth to Amsterdam, Biarritz, Deauville, Dublin, Glasgow, Jersey, Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Toulon. And the regional airline will launch services from Southampton to Bastia in Corsica and Milan Malpensa. It will also start flying from Birmingham to Bastia and Biarritz and from Stansted to the Isle of Man, Newcastle and Newquay.

Flybe - image courtesy of Flybe

Cheaper air travel predicted

Date: 16-Dec-2014

Air fares are expected to fall by and average of 5.1% in real terms next year, according to the International Air Transport Association. Falling oil prices and healthier profits will allow airlines elbow room to be more competitive says the industry organisation, which represents most of the world’s major carriers. There’s a catch, inevitably. The forecast fare reduction doesn’t apply to taxes and surcharges, which represent a significant addition to most basic fares – so the actual average cut will be lower than that predicted. IATA airlines are expected to record a collective profit of just under $20 billions for 2014, itself an increase on the $18 billions estimated in June. And next year the figure is predicted to rise to $25 billions.

London Heathrow Airport

High speed trains to Geneva launched

Date: 15-Dec-2014

Eurostar has launched a new year round service to Geneva. The high speed link has been made possible through a partnership with the Franco-Swiss TGV Lyra company, which started running trains yesterday between Lille and Geneva. The London-Geneva service runs on Mondays. Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Outbound trains leave St. Pancras station at 12.58pm and arrive at 8.16pm with a 37 minute connection in Lille. Trains from Geneva depart at 8.30am and arrive at 2.05pm - with a slightly shorter connecting time - except on Sundays when services operate 2 hours later.


New showcase for modern architecture

Date: 12-Dec-2014

A new design and architecture centre has opened in Palm Springs, the Californian desert city 100  miles east of Los Angeles. The glass and steel building, originally designed as a bank, provides extra exhibition space for the city’s Art Museum, which houses works by artists including Picasso, Matisse and Anish Kapoor. Palm Springs has a significant concentration of mid-20th century architecture.

Palm Springs

New long haul options from Manchester

Date: 11-Dec-2014

Manchester Airport will soon have a clutch of new long connections - to Asia and Africa for example – when Qatar Airways ups the number of flights it operates there by 40%. From February 15 the airline will increase flights to Doha’s recently opened Hamad International Airport from ten to 14 a week. The new services will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays. Last month the airline announced it would start flying daily from Edinburgh on May 1 – up from the current five a week.

Doha's new airport

Free Wi-Fi on French resort slopes

Date: 10-Dec-2014

Skiers taking to the slopes of Val d’Isere this season will be able to keep in touch with friends and world events via free Wi-Fi access.

Val d’Isere

Luxury Jo’burg hotel re-born

Date: 09-Dec-2014

Johannesburg’s Westcliff hotel has opened under the Four Seasons group banner following a huge re-vamp costing around £35m. With 117 rooms and suites set in landscaped gardens on a hillside, the property was owned until 2012 by Orient Express. It has five restaurants, two outdoor pools and a spa, which is scheduled to open  in January.

Four Seasons Westcliff, Johannesburg

Huge facelift for Gatwick terminal

Date: 08-Dec-2014

Gatwick aims to halve the time it takes passengers using its North Terminal to check in and negotiate security. The terminal is to get a major makeover, including the creation of a new check in area, at a cost of £36 millions. The airport’s owners claim this facility, which will have the world’s largest self service bag drop zone, will “virtually eliminate queues”. It’s scheduled to open in two phases – late next year and in early the following year. A new security area should also be completed in 2016. A new look departure lounge with more shops and eateries is planned and the terminal’s arrivals area is to be refurbished in time for next summer. The airport’s railway station will also get an upgrade. The concourse area will be doubled and more escalators and lifts will be installed. But the work won’t begin until 2017 and isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2020.

London Gatwick Airport

Eclipse packages go on sale

Date: 05-Dec-2014

Packages are now on offer to travellers keen to experience the total eclipse of the sun next March. It will be visible from the Faroe Islands and Svalbard – between Norway and the North Pole. Astronomer Andy Green will lead a five day trip to the Faroes, departing from Stansted on March 17. It will include tours of the islands before the big event, from 8.38am until 9.41am on the 20th. Darkness won’t come cheap, however. The trip – bookable through Nordic Experience - £2595 based on two sharing.


New Philadelphia flights from Heathrow

Date: 04-Dec-2014

Competition is heating up on the air route between London and Philadelphia Delta will launch non stop flights next spring. Starting in early April the airline will operate daily flights, departing from Heathrow at 1.20om and arriving at 4pm. Eastbound flights will leave at 7.04pm and arrive at 7.30am next morning. Meanwhile American Airlines will launch a second daily service on March 29 with daytime flights back to Heathrow. The outbound departure will be at 8.20am, getting travellers to the US at 11.35am. London-bound flights will leave at 9.55am, reaching Heathrow at 10.10pm.

Philadelphia - photo courtesy of R Kennedy, Visit Philadelphia

New outback hikes launched

Date: 03-Dec-2014

Guided walks through an ancient salt lake system will be launched this week at Curtin Springs, a vast 1m acre cattle station 100km from Ayers Rock in Australia’s “Red Centre”. Night hikes will afford the sight of the gleaming crystals by the light of the full moon. There will also be walks around the base of Mount Connor, sometimes mistaken for Uluru, to use Ayers Rock’s Aboriginal name.

Curtin Springs

TV remotes can make you ill warns report

Date: 02-Dec-2014

Can’t wait to turn the hotel room TV on? Hold on a second. Clean the remote first. Research broadcast in the US on NBC’s Today programme suggests you should always travel with a packet of disinfectant wipes. The remote is more likely than anything else in the room to be harbouring bacteria. One of those checked using swabs during a probe by investigative reporter Jeff Rossen even carried the MRSA bug. Light switches were cleanest but nearly everywhere phones were way above the acceptable limit.

Rescue fares for scheduled air passengers

Date: 01-Dec-2014

Major airlines have agreed to fly passengers home at special fares if one of them goes bust. The voluntary deal covers passengers flying from, to and within the EU. It has been agreed by members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a way of heading off calls for the establishment of a fund, set up by imposing a per passenger levy, to pay for emergency repatriation. However, it is unlikely to satisfy consumer bodies and travel industry leaders, who have long argued that scheduled airline passengers should be protected in the same way as package holiday customers. For one thing the deal already exists informally. For another, there has been no official indication of just how low the so called “rescue fares” might be. And the fares will be available for purchase only up to two weeks after an airline ceases flying, so somebody out of touch could still wind up having to pay a full one way fare. The best advice is still to pay using a credit card and buy travel insurance with cover against scheduled airline failure.

Best cruise ships named

Date: 28-Nov-2014

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas has been named best new cruise ship by the influential Cruise Critic website. Among the vessels innovations is s gondola attached to a mechanical arm, which allows passengers to sail 300ft above the sea – and a range of small restaurants in place of the traditional main dining room. Emerald Waterways Emerald Star and Emerald Sky were named best river ships. Praised for offering moderately priced cruising, they have indoor pools, with retractable roofs, which are transformed into cinemas at night. P&O Cruises was named best for dining. Hurtigruten, whose itineraries allow passengers to watch polar bears, get a close look at the Northern Lights or go dog sledding, for example, was top pick for adventure trips.



Quantum of the Seas

Sydney’s latest luxury hotel opens

Date: 27-Nov-2014

Sydney has a new five star hotel. The 140 room InterContinental Sydney Double Bay has a rooftop pool with views of the sea. It’s housed in a six storey building which was formerly home to the Ritz-Carlton, whose celebrity guests ranged from Madonna to Bill Clinton.

InterContinental Sydney Double Bay

Glasgow to get Munich flights

Date: 26-Nov-2014

Lufthansa is to launch a summer service between Glasgow Airport and Munich next year. The airline will operate one flight a week, on Saturdays, starting on May 16 and ending on October 3.

French package prices slashed

Date: 25-Nov-2014

In a bid to stimulate sluggish demand for package holidays in France, Brittany Ferries is lopping 25% off next year’s basic prices to customers booking by December 16. The deal doesn’t include on board accommodation or extra charges such as weekend and seasonal supplements. Its latest programme includes a new range of gites in Alsace Lorraine, in eastern France.

Brittany Ferries

Too old to ski at 100? No says insurer

Date: 24-Nov-2014

Worried you might be getting too old to get ski holiday insurance?  A UK insurance company has just increased its upper age limit to 100. Michael Pettifer, owner and director of MPI Brokers says: “Last year we put it up to 90. I said we were still getting the odd customer wanting to ski at 91 or 92 – not many, perhaps ten or so - so the underwriter said ‘ok – let’s put it up to 100’.” How much will it cost? If you bought cover on line today it would cost £147.81 in France or £184.76 for a week in elsewhere in Europe.

Peak beauty spots go on line

Date: 21-Nov-2014

The Peak District has become the first national park accessible via Google Street View. That doesn’t mean you can take a virtual hike anywhere you fancy, however. As the park’s chief executive Jim Dixon notes, it was impossible to film every inch of its 555 square miles. “Instead we have selected some of the highlights. These are the trail areas where we offer ranger-led walks, family activities and cycle hire and bike maintenance.” Places which can be viewed on line include the High Peak, Monsal and Tissington trails.

•  Read Peveril of the Peak with HF Holidays ... and Harry

View from Peveril of the Peaks

Birmingham to get new Big Apple link

Date: 20-Nov-2014

American Airlines is to launch daily flights between Birmingham and New York next spring. Starting in early May the carrier will fly, leaving the Midlands at 10am and arriving at JFK Airport at 12.55pm. Eastbound services will depart at 7pm, arriving at 7.10am next morning. Flights will be operated under a code share deal with American’s partner British Airways, meaning they’ll be bookable through BA’s reservation system. And travellers from Birmingham to Barcelona will benefit from fresh competition from June 1 next year when Spanish airline Vueling launches flights to the Catalan city, starting with three round trips a week.

American Airlines

Great War tours on snowshoes

Date: 19-Nov-2014

Snowshoe tours of the First World War front between Italy and Austria will be on offer in the Dolomites ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo this winter. A guide and a re-enactor/narrator will accompany the hikes in period uniform. Groups will walk to the restored Cima Gallina defensive position.  The tour takes about 1hr 90mins. Visit Lasazuoi 5 Torri, which also has details of tours on skis covering a theatre of the Great War which s relatively little known in the UK. (Read The White War by Mark Thompson published by Faber & Faber).

Snowshoeing in the Dolomites

BA to start Krakow service

Date: 18-Nov-2014

British Airways is to launch flights to Krakow from Heathrow. From May 1 it will operate four round trips a week to the former Polish capital – on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.


Lisbon’s electric car tours

Date: 17-Nov-2014

Electric cars with GPS audio guides are now available in Lisbon. Visitors can follow a range of themed itineraries or make their own. You could follow the route of Tram 28, for example, which passes the Portuguese capital’s best known sights, or concentrate on the city’s Moorish heritage. Prices vary but these two tours cost €29 for 1hr and €34 die 1hrs 30mins respectively – with €15 extra for each additional hour. Information at

Lisbon Eco Tours

BA to start Bilbao flights

Date: 14-Nov-2014

British Airways will launch flights to from Heathrow to Bilbao in northern Spain – home to a spectacular branch of the Guggenheim Museum - on March 29. On the same day Spanish airline Vueling, which is belongs, with BA, to the International Airlines Group, will move its Bilbao services from Heathrow to Gatwick.

Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

New hotel opens in Liverpool

Date: 13-Nov-2014

Liverpool’s 110 years old, Grade II listed Royal Insurance building has become a hotel. The opening of the Starwood group’s Aloft Liverpool follows an £18m conversion, which has removed the property from English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk register. It has a fitness centre and free wi fi is available throughout the hotel.

Aloft Liverpool

Luxury Irish train planned

Date: 12-Nov-2014

A luxury touring train is to be launched in Ireland. Belmond plans to start operating the luxury sleeper in summer 2016 after acquiring 10 carriages from Irish Rail. The train will be called the Belmond Grand Hibernian. It will visit destinations in the north and south. Belmond is the new brand recently introduced by Orient Express Hotels. The company continues to operate other luxury trains, including the Venice-Simplon-Orient Express.

Belmond Grand Hiberian

Canada to demand travel e-clearance

Date: 10-Nov-2014

Planning a holiday in Canada? From next April you’ll need to get authorisation on line. The flip side is you can expect to get through immigration more quickly on arrival. The eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) will cost the equivalent of Canadian $7 and will be valid for up to five years. The move applies to travellers from all countries expect the US.



Gatwick: new Canada flights planned

Date: 07-Nov-2014

Canadian leisure airline Air Transat will fly from Gatwick to St. John's, Newfoundland and onward to Halifax, Nova Scotia, next summer. The service will operate twice a week from mid June until the start of September.

Air Transat

Museum of American West set to open

Date: 06-Nov-2014

The history of the American west will be the theme of a new museum scheduled to open in Arizona next month. The Museum of the West in Scottsdale promises to tell the story through paintings and photographs, narrative, multi-media presentations and “participatory exhibitions”.

Museum of the West

Swiss flights take off from Southend

Date: 05-Nov-2014

Flights from Southend airport to Bern have been launched by Swiss airline SkyWork. Bern is a handy jumping off point for the Jungfrau area, including the ski and summer resorts of Wengen and Grindelwald. On some days the carrier is operating two round trips but its timetable shows no services on Saturdays and only one outbound flight on Sundays, arriving at 10.30pm. So travellers to the Alps will either have to get to their accommodation late at night or fly on weekdays, when there’s an early morning departure from the Essex airport.

SkyWork Airlines

Austrian farm hike launched

Date: 04-Nov-2014

A two week holiday hiking between Almen – Austrian mountain eateries with accommodation – has been launched for next year by Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. The trip covers the first 160kms of the 350km Almenweg, which links these small Alpine farms in Salzburg province. Typical of the dishes they serve is the Brettljause, a selection of cold cuts including home made cheeses and home cured pork products. The package costs from £1250 including flights and full board, with some nights spend in Almen, some in hotels.

Almen – Austrian mountain eateries with accommodation

Newcastle gets Big Apple link

Date: 03-Nov-2014

United Airlines will fly between Newcastle and New York next summer. Between May 23 and September 7 the airline will operate five round trips a week, with departures from the UK at 9.10am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

BA Heathrow flights switch terminals

Date: 31-Oct-2014

British Airways flights from Heathrow to Belfast City Airport and Dublin have switched to Terminal 5 from Terminal 1 and services from Heathrow to Barcelona have moved to Terminal 3 from Terminal 5.

New flights to Slovakian mountains

Date: 30-Oct-2014

Skiers and hikers have a new air route to the mountains from this week (starting October 28) when Wizz Air launches a flights from Luton to Poprad, in Slovakia. Poprad lies at the foot of the Tatra range in the north of the country. The airline will fly there three times a week from October 28. Tour operator Mountain Paradise is taking advantage of the new service to offer long weekends on the Tatra slopes this winter. Customers will fly out on Thursday, back on Sunday, with a choice of a range of accommodation.

Peak walkway opens

Date: 29-Oct-2014

Hard on the heels of news that the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge will open next month in Austria, comes the announcement that another has just opened above the Swiss resort of Gstaad. This one’s claimed to be the first hanging bridge connecting two peaks. At 3000 metres above sea level it stretches for 107 metres between the View Point and the Scex Rouge with a view, in clear weather, taking in Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and the Bernese Alps.

Hanging bridge

Boutique hotel has own beach hut

Date: 28-Oct-2014

A new boutique hotel with its own beach hut has opened on a hill overlooking the Kent coast at Whitstable. The 18 room Crescent Turner on Wraik Hill has 18 rooms and a restaurant whose menu includes the local oysters, which the town celebrates with an annual festival in July. Guests may reserve the beach hut, which has cooking facilities including a barbecue and houses three canoes.

The Crescent Turner

Budget transatlantic flights planned

Date: 27-Oct-2014

Icelandic low cost airline WOW is to launch flights from Gatwick to Boston and Baltimore Washington airport via Reykjavik. Departures to the former will start on March 27. Services to the latter – it’s about an hour’s drive to Washington DC - will begin on June 4. The airline says its lowest one way fare between March 30 and June 15 will be £99 one way but a check on the airline’s web site showed that price available on only a few flights one way.  Plus there’s a total of £17.48 in booking fees, a £39 charge for checked baggage and a minimum of £2 to choose a particular seat. But if you are prepared to add 3hrs to your journey time on the way out and about 4hrs on the return leg you should be able to trim your travel costs. A random check showed the total cost on WOW, departing in April 17 and returning a week later, assuming you take hold bags and choose seats, would be £436.65 (add £24 return for extra leg room) compared with £632 return in economy on British Airways on the same dates.

Newcastle gets new sun flights

Date: 13-Aug-2014

Jet2 is to launch weekly flights to four sunshine destinations from Newcastle next year. Starting in May the low fare airline will operate to Antalya (Turkey on Fridays, Malta on Thursdays, Larnaca (Cyprus), and Zante – both on Wednesdays.

New river cruise guide

Date: 21-Jun-2014

A new guide which compares and rates European river cruise ships is now available. It’s been compiled by Douglas Ward, who has written the annual Berlitz guide to cruising at sea for the past 30 years. The new guide – Berlitz: River Cruising in Europe – costs £14.99.

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